Think I just opened a can of worms..

16 Jan 2007
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United Kingdom
Hi all,

This is my first post on your excellent forum.

My problem is this... nearly 4 years ago we moved into our 110 year old house. It had a new kitchen fitted by the previous occupants who had done it up and sold it for a profit. The kitchen was evidently not fitted by a tradesman, but it was adequate and so remained untouched by us until this week.

We have just ordered a freestanding electric cooker to replace our gas one and I was sure there was a cooker connection point but on closer inspection behind the cooker there is not.

Looking at the distribution box there is a fuse for the cooker which when pulled cut the power to the fridge, freezer and the cooker hood. I assumed that the cooker cable now supplied the socket for these.

We have removed the plaster on the other side of the wall in the spare room as it is crumbling anyway and needs replaced, an ideal time to sort the cooker electrics I thought. Removing some of the lath to be able to see the wiring had left me speechless.

I found the old Cooker outlet in between the 2 walls,

The earth connection is just wrapped round the chassis of the cooker socket and there is a 13A plug and flex coming from it to supply a double socket which feeds the fridge, freezer and cooker hood. "But that is 3 cables and only 2 sockets" I hear you thinking... well some bright spark decided that because the socket was hidden behind the freezer, it was ok to put 2 flexes into one plug... except not all the cores could fit through the bottom so he decided to just lop off the earth to the fridge. I was speechless and have since disconnected it and am running the fridge and freezer from an extension. Cooker hood is just unplugged.

I have now got the horrible task of checking out all the wiring in the house as I now have no confidence in it's safety. Electrician mate is coming round thursday to do checks and sort out the cooker issue.

Does anyone know if I have any comeback after almost 4 years have passed since we bought the house? Who would we contact if there is? This was not identified in the survey but it would be unreasonable to expect them to have found problems in between the walls wouldn't it?

Anyone on here had similar problems?
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Regretably not an uncommon sight when refurbing a house of several years. Surveyors will not spot this sort of thing and any survey will have lots of disclaimers and will probably say that you should have the electrical installation properly checked and tested by a competent electrician.

If you did do that then you have a come back on whoever did the report and signed it but this sort of thing is very difficult to spot unless you rip down walls and lift up floors when inspecting. Reports by reputable companies (eg mine) also have disclaimers like this:
"The report is a ..... functional examination of the electrical system, which is accessible i.e. visible and readily available for inspection from ground and floor levels without the risk of causing damage to the property or injury to the inspector and limited accordingly. Due care is therefore exercised throughout the inspection regarding safety, practicality and the constraints of being a visitor to the property (which may be occupied). So furniture, floor coverings and other contents are not moved lifted, and no part is forced or laid open to make it accessible."

So probably no comeback unless the kitchen installation folk left a guarantee - and even then they will say it wasn't them and must have been whoever you bought the house from.

Get your pet sparky in to get it done properly.

Hopefully the rest of the house is in better condition. Before Part P regulations, kitchens were often 'rewired' by kitchen fitters who weren't electricians and you are experiencing the comeback! (BTW no disrespect to bone fide kitchen fitters intended, sorry.)

At least they put a 13A fuse in there! I rewired a house last year and discovered the kitchen lights were wired in 1mm cable from a 30A junction box which was fed by a 10mm cable going to a 50A breaker! The kitchen fitters had just spliced the lights into the cooker supply with no fuse-down! Good job the lights didn't fail or the house could have burned down!

Good luck with your house, hopefully your sparky will sort it out without any more nasty discoveries! :D
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Don't know how clearly you can see, but there is a 6.0mm² feeding a 30A joint box.
From the JB there was a 2.5mm² T&E feeding a 7.5kW electric hob, a 2.5mm² feeding a socket for the cooker hood, and the oven fed in 1.5mm² flex. The JB was fed direct from the CU, so no isolator.

Good old kitchen fitters :rolleyes:
You think that's bad? I went to a house in Sussexwhere there was no consumer unit! All the circuits (lighting, ring, cooker and immersion) were wired directly into a 60A switchfuse! :eek:

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